Actress Yvonne Orji, who plays the character Molly on the HBO series "Insecure," revealed what the Holy Spirit said to her when she was so broke she didn't have money to go to church.
In an episode of the Jesus & Jollof podcast with fellow Nigerian writer Luvvie Ajayi, Orji discussed how difficult it was for her as a struggling actress before getting her big break in acting. She recalled losing jobs to friends who she recommended for the same positions. Eventually, her kindness to others and rejection took a toll on her and she fell into a deep depression.
"I was literally looking depression in the face. I could have let it take me out but it was just like, 'God I've done everything as right as I could,'" she admitted thinking.
"I'm even helping other people live out their dreams when I don't even have my dream yet. But I'm never going to be stingy, I'm always going to be a giver," she recalled.
Orji confessed that she didn't have enough money to attend church but she did pray for God to make a way for her to volunteer and attend Bible studies and connect groups.
"I said 'God if you want me to volunteer at the church I need gas money.' And there was sometimes where I only had enough money to get to church or to get to the Bible study," Orji continued. "I was like, 'God somebody is going to have to bless me with money to get back.'"
God answered her prayers time and time again and that began to break her depression.
"Each time somebody on Facebook would be like, 'hey God put it on my heart to give you $200 in your Paypal,'" the actress testified. "I promise you."
However it would be a word from the Holy Spirit that would change the course of her life. One day in Oct of 2014, the 34-year-old broke down sobbing to a friend after attending the NBCUniversal Short Film Festival because of how many young people she saw living their dreams.
While admittedly angry with God, she described hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit tell her, "what's in your hand?"
The next day, searching for a revelation of the word, she opened her Bible up to Psalm 31: 14-15 which states, "I trust in you, O Lord..my times are in your hand."
The scripture broke her despair and Orji suddenly felt motivated to work at building her First Gen web series. The sitcom is semi-autobiographical and draws loosely from the some of the actress' comedic stand-up routines. Shortly after, she was asked to be a part of the cast on the hit HBO show "Insecure," which is now on its third season.
While in Hollywood, Orji has been outspoken about her Christian faith. In 2017, she revealed in an interview with People magazine that she's a virgin and wanted to share that with others because she's "grounded" in who she is and is not ashamed to share about her purity.
"Before any of [the fame] happened, I sat down with myself and with God and thought, when I make it, how do you want me to represent You while I'm here?" she asked before answering her own question. "It was like, OK, I know why I'm here. It's to make You proud."
At a TEDx event in March of 2017, Orji said she thought she would get married and lose her virginity at age 18. She expressed that her enthusiasm for losing her virginity was diminished by her friends' low expectations of sex. Then in college, she said she was "bamboozled by Jesus" and her faith led her to continue waiting and making God proud with her life.
Listen to Orji's full interview on the Jesus & Jollof podcast HERE.